LONDON, February 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Face-to-face networking is, surely, second to none.
I don't think that's up for debate. Social media is a means to support your face-to-face activities and, if embarked upon correctly, is immensely effective.
To potentialise your on and off-line networking, it's crucial to be people-friendly. Kind of obvious isn't it? However, why is it that we're prepared to shake hands when others reach out when we meet them yet, when it comes to - for example, accepting requests to connect on LinkedIn, most simply hit the 'Accept' button and do nothing else? Is that a warm handshake?
Wouldn't it be better to send a brief message to thank the person whose invitation you've just received? Surely, it'll not only show you care, but also stand out positively against a back-drop of the majority who don't bother doing so? Your new connection is likely to appreciate your gesture and remember you for that too!
Additionally, what about when you request a connection on Linkedin? In my view, using LinkedIn's predetermined script, "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn" is nothing more than a cold handshake. Sure, it's better than no message at all, however where's the effort to personalise?
In one of my workshops, I shared a screen shot of my 'Invitations to connect' list. Of course, I hid the identity of those listed. Out of 18 requests, only 1 had bothered to personalise their message to me. It seems that people spare little time for one another here. I'd like to think it's done subconsciously. What I know is, the few who do personalise do it consciously, meaning some care is being invested. That's engagement.
I see this as an opportunity for you.
Make an effort by personalising when you can. Small gestures like this really do make a difference. If you're concerned that it takes too much time, why not set up some pre-written templates, say in MSWord, and copy / paste and 'top and tail' by adding the recipient's name and making your message relevant?
These small, yet proactive messages count and they all help build your reputation of being an engager.
There are countless other gestures like this you can apply when on-line. After all, why not be social, when it comes to social networking?
John Coupland, author of 'ACCELerate™ Your Social Media', is a multi-award winning e-Business & Networking Professional. John has over 25 years of award-winning experience in retail and account management, with over 18 years in e-business. He left the corporate world in 2009 and founded and runs a number of influential social networking groups, consisting of thousands of business owners, alongside his business, @networkerplus Social Media. He helps businesses with their social media strategies, speaks at events and also runs on-line campaigns for SMEs and leading brands.
SOURCE @networkerplus Social Media